Consumer Reports: Tesla’s Smart Summon is a glitchy ‘science experiment’

Influential magazine Consumer Reports has made it abundantly clear it’s not a fan of Tesla’s Smart Summon feature.

Smart Summon is part of Tesla’s automated parking system. When within 200 feet of their vehicle, a user holds their finger on the Tesla app and it will slowly drive to the person. At least, that’s supposed to be the case.

Consumer Reports says the system is “glitchy” and only works intermittently.

The US magazine is not the only entity questioning Tesla’s feature which debuted to some users via a software update last month. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) said last week that it’s investigating reports of crashes in parking lots of Tesla Model 3 users attempting to use Smart Summon.

Videos of Smart Summon failing spectacularly have made the rounds, including clips of it acting "like a drunken or distracted driver" and even veering into the opposite lane.

Users are supposed to keep an eye on their vehicle when it’s being summoned. The idea behind holding your finger on the Tesla app for the feature to engage is that – with any sign of danger – the user can lift their finger and the system will disengage.

Perhaps that safety feature shows Tesla knows its technology is still very much experimental, of which there’s a strong argument it shouldn’t yet be in consumers’ hands.

"Consumers are not getting fully tested, consumer-ready technology," Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports said here in a report on Tuesday.

“What consumers are really getting is the chance to participate in a kind of science experiment.”

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